This week our church celebrated the Lord’s Supper.
We usually meet once a year to celebrate. The service is a very sobering, worshipful time. We file in silently and leave silently, all of our focus on the Cross and what Christ has done for us.
That evening, somehow I found myself on the end of a small second-row pew on the piano side, sandwiched in with four other members. Since I was sitting practically at the altar, I felt open and exposed to the world. Trying to focus, I fidgeted and stirred, then worried that I was bothering those around me. I wondered if anyone else was having the same struggle concentrating.
Probably not. I was pretty sure that others were more godly, more devoted, more dedicated than me. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Bibles open and wondered if I should get mine out to keep myself from fidgeting so much.
At the beginning of the service, Pastor admonished us to try to reign in our thoughts for sixty minutes, no matter how many times we had to do so. He added that the Lord deserved at least sixty minutes out of our schedules this week.
I thought about that. Surely I could reign in my wild thoughts for that long.
I soon learned that this was no small task.
As Pastor prepared to read the account of Christ’s death and resurrection from Mark 14-15, he encouraged us to imagine ourselves in the story.
I tried. I tried to imagine the disciples going into the city to prepare for the Passover and meeting the man with the fully furnished upper room and finding everything as Jesus had said it would be.
And then my mind drifted again.
If only I could picture tasting the bread and the wine for the first time, and Jesus saying His body would be broken and His blood shed for mankind. I am sure that the disciples were a little perplexed about what He was telling them, but pretended they knew what He was talking about.
I wished I could picture being woken from a deep sleep by Jesus, asking me if I could not “watch one hour.” Standing in the shadows as Judas came and kissed Jesus’s face and the confusion that followed as Peter drew his sword and then all of us fled the garden. Observing as Peter denied Jesus three times and the cock crowing.
I wished I could be a bystander as Jesus stood before the accusers and “answered nothing.” I have always been amazed that the Creator of the universe, who could have called down angels from Heaven in a split second to destroy them all, stood calmly, saying nothing. I longed to follow His example.
I wanted to be there while the Jews demanded Jesus’s crucifixion and Pilate responded, “Why, what evil hath he done?” I know I would hardly be able to watch the beating and the spitting and the beard ripping from his face and the crown of thorns piercing His brow. Then the walk to Golgotha, the nails, the thirst, and the unspeakable pain. And the blood. So much blood.
Why was it so difficult for me to focus? I wanted this special time of observing the Lord’s Supper to mean something to me. I was certain it meant something to others in attendance, but I wanted, yes needed, to remember the importance of what I was doing myself.
I was saddened to think that at a time when Christ deserved everything from me, I was only giving Him such a small amount of time, and even that was clouded with me and my thoughts and my ways.
As we quietly sang “Lead Me to Calvary”, a line from one of the stanzas caught my attention.
Let me like Mary, through the gloom,
Come with a gift to Thee;
My eyes watered. I wondered what could be my gift. What could I give to Christ, here, now? I had no spices or anointing oil, but surely I could give Him my time–at least sixty minutes of it. I could not be there in that moment with Mary at the Cross or walk with her when she brought her gift to the garden tomb. I could not sit with John at the table in the upper room, nor could I sing a hymn with the other disciples.
But I was here, and I could remember. I could worship. I could offer myself to Him. This moment could be special, could connect me to the disciples of old–to Mary Magdalene and Peter and John and James.
I could crown Him in this moment, lest I forget Calvary.